A general manager walks into a hockey rink only to find a local reporter waiting for him. This general manager crowed about picking up five assets for Chris Pronger and is two years into the fruits of that labour with a accompanying pie that tastes as good as your great aunt’s, well, we won’t go there. Now this is also the same guy who lost his cool and let Ryan Smyth go over a paltry $100 K a year, only to wind up dealing him for 50 cents on the dollar. Later on he attempted tospend what we’ll call “Smyth money” on anyone who’d talk to him and finallysucceeded when Sheldon Souray finally picked up the phone.
Did I mention the courting of Michael Nylander?
Anyway, this guy walks into a hockey rink and he’s overlooking his team pitching one of their worst performances of the season. So, a reporter sidles up to the GM and mentions how the he just might want to make a deal or two and try and shake the doldrums and in the process keep Brian Burke from having an even better chance of hitting a home-run; considering that he has the Oilers first round pick this season.
So, according to the Edmonton Journal, the GM says, “It would (cause) agreat deal of angst to see Burke pick in the top five, because of our season. But I’m not about to make a couple of stupid deals just to prevent that from happening.”
Cue uproarious laughter from learned readers. Unfortunately, that’s wherethe levity stops.
The writer of this piece was John MacKinnon and while he’s not the Oilersbeat guy, I don’t think that precludes him from taking a shot when Kevin Lowe leaves his guard down. I’m a new guy to the Edm media and I’ve only been able to read the dailies since I’ve seen them online in the ’97 season but I wonder if it’s always been this way. Lowe is throwing out a line here that’s ripe for the needle and no one bothers to take a jab? Is this what it’s come to?
Or is this what’s it’s always been?
One thing I’ve always given Lowe credit for is knowing his audience. In fact, I’m not sure if he has an applicable meter lying around somewhere but the guy seems to have a handle on just how much he can get away with. The man’s on a quite a roll when it comes to making moves that backfire like -insert old car joke here- but it’s one thing to be a bad GM, it’s quite another to either flaunt or be oblivious to your reality by making statements about “stupid deals” when your team’s trailing the pack like the fat kid in a marathon.
Somewhere along the way the Oilers became a laughing stock and Lowe became The Unaccountable One and the former highlights the latter. With the way this team falls further and further off the competitive map, it’s easy to think of the Lowe supporter as lemming but that’s a classifcation broad enough to encapuslate any fan of any franchise that’s suffered from periods ranging from moderate-to-long. Everyone’s got their soft spots and there’s something to be said for loyality and how the payoff when you finally get your moment in the sun. In Lowe’s rule, however, that’s never come to pass.
Things were supposed to change in the new era and they did for one spring. But Lowe’s been o-for-2 since then and there’s no reason to believe this team gets into the playoffs in ’09 either. For that to happen kids like Cogliano, Gagner and Nilsson will all have to take the big step from even-strength sinkholes to outscorers and as much as I like these guys, I don’t see any such transformations taking place over summer.
So, where does Lowe find the strength in his convictions and the flat-outballs to throw out lines about stupid deals? And what’s in the city’s make-up that makes this acceptable?
Maybe it’s the latest manifestation of an inferority complex but currentlythe Oilers fan has become the matronly doormat who smells perfume on the husband but chooses to believe that the fragance was passed from a platonic hug at work. Oh sure, they can check the stats for themselves and watch the games to see the performances of the guys in with the ones out and if they’re so intrepid, they can look at the corresponding salaries. Best not to have to think for yourself, though. Whatever Kevin does is best.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that outside of rallying everyone to cancel season tickets and stop watching the games, it’s hard for any fans to really affect change. And if the people stay away in droves, they run the risk that today’s payroll drops to the floor and most likely the team’s point totals with it. Still in all, though, it’s hard to believe that fans will keep buying bags marked “Sugar” that ultimately house shit.
Comments like the one highlighted above prove that Lowe’s either deluded or calculates his leeway to be at unforetold levels.
Either way the joke’s on Joe Stupid Fan.
To the “true believers” I say keep the covers over your head and look forward to 2010. That seems promising right now and just might be until itcomes to the time where it’s September ’09 and, repeat after me, once againwe’re left with excuses in lieu of talent.
Did I mention Shawn Horcoff’s contract is up at the end of the ’09 season?Don’t bother with it. I’m sure Lowe will see that situation to anadvantageous end.